A Travis County grand jury Friday returned two indictments against Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis, accusing him of illegally accepting a gift from a San Antonio law firm and failing to report it as a political contribution.
The first indictment, a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, charged that Lewis "illegally accepted a gift from a person subject to his jurisdiction."Travis County District Attorney Ronald Earle said the charge was based on the payment of a portion of Lewis' taxes by the San Antonio law firm of Heard Goggan Blair and Williams, which contracts with local governments to collect delinquent taxes.
The grand jury also indicted Lewis on a charge that he failed to report the gift, a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The second indictment was enhanced because of Lewis' conviction of a similar offense in 1983. The enhancement means that minimum punishment would be a jail term or probation for 30 days.
Earle, who had been accused of manipulating witnesses in an alleged attempt to manufacture a case against the speaker, said the charges against Lewis are among the most serious that can made against a public official, even though they are misdemeanors.
Lewis, D-Fort Worth, will seek an unprecedented fifth term as speaker when the 1991 Legislature convenes Jan. 8.